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Kitchen Cabinets

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > House & Garden > Kitchen Cabinets


Painting & Re-facing Cabinets Buying & Installing Cabinets Related pages

Refinishing cabinets and baseboards

Jan 2013

Here is my dilemma. Our clear-finished maple kitchen cabinets (approx 17 years old) are both mucked up and somewhat water damaged. They are looking tired and declining. It seems like they should be in better shape than they are, but they're not. We had a painter look at them for a sanding and refinishing estimate but he said that, in many cases, the water damage was too deep for that to be an effective strategy. We had a furniture cabinet refinisher look at them who quoted over $15,000 for the job. At the same time, we need our flimsy floor kicks (thin veneer bender board installed at the same time as the cabinets) and perhaps our wood floors refinished. Who to call (painter, carpenter, and floor refinisher or is there someone who could do all of this?),and what service to ask for? Maybe replacing all cabinet doors (and drawers?) but not the cabinets themselves? Is there one firm that would do all of this work? I've been stymied by this for a while; I'm interested in ideas and suggestions. Thanks. Anon


Josue Landa (jbpainting001@yahoo.com) does this kind of work. We used them to paint our windows, but he also provided a quote for us to do almost the same work you need. We decided not to move forward with the project at all, but he does this kind of work. We hired Josue, based on a recommendation from friends. anon

Want to paint kitchen cabinets white

Dec 2011

My kitchen cabinets are dark wood and look dated. I would like them painted white and I would like new handles. Has any one hired someone to do this?It sounds like the prep work is important so I do not want to just hire any one. I am also not sure what is a reasonable price for this. Thanks


Hello- If all you need is your cabinets painted (no new doors, drawers, hinges, etc) then contact Davila's Finishing (www.davilasfinishing.com) for an estimate. They specialize in cabinet/furniture finishing only. I use them for my cabinet refacing projects as needed. They also do the finishing for my friends' custom cabinet shop (Shaw's Cabinetry www.shawcabinetry.com). Good luck in your search, Dave
Kitchen cabinets can be a bit of a chore when you get right down to it. Cleaning grease and dirt, then primer plus two finish coats is typical. I always use Roland DelaTorre of Thousand Oaks Painting for my projects. Born and raised in Albany, he offers a good price and top quality workmanship every time. His number is : (510) 205-2552. Call him, you will be glad you did. Bruce
I don't have a name, but prep, prep and prep! We had a painter come who didn't and now 4 years later the paint peels off at the drop of a pin. Sheesh! The problem is that the old paint is not very grippy/porous, plus there is usually a layer of old cooking oil accumulated...so.. JM
Marco Florian, is a great painter and handyman. He has done numerous painting jobs in our home and properties as well. He did a great job painint some furniture we wanted to have an antique look. He has other great skils as well like plumbing,tiling,carpentry, etc. He has also experience remodeling bathrooms and kitchens. He can work on weekends or evenings if needed; Marco always goes the extra mile and his rates are very reasonable. He is reliable, polite, creative, good nature man. You can reach Marco directly at 510-301-5629 or marco.a.florian@gmail.com Ana
Gate View Painting repaired the peeling paint and rusting nails on the side of my house last week quickly and with great attention to detail. I'm sure they would prep your cabinets well. Call Jim for an estimate 510-620-0164. They do great work! http://www.gateviewpainting.com/ Michele
Hi, I had my kitchen cabinets painted last year and I can recommend my painter unreservedly. His name is Ulises Vasquez, and you can reach him at (408) 489-4433. Despite the phone number, he's located in Berkeley.

Ulises worked with a carpenter to add trim to my 1970's era cabinets and paint them (instead of me ripping them out and replacing them). I worried that this would end up looking very 'homemade', but it looks amazing. You would think the cabinets came new from the factory after they were finished. I have a new kitchen. If you contact him he can show you before and after photos.

Ulises used a multi-step process including sanding and painting multiple times. He used a spray system that created a perfect finish.

He's always been reliable, on time, and his prices are very reasonable. He is attentive to small details, which makes a big difference in the look of the work. I've used Ulises for four projects now, and every time I'm thrilled with the results. Allison


Repainting existing kitchen cabinets

Jan 2011

We're looking to do a relatively quick and inexpensive refurbish of our kitchen to make it tolerable until we can afford an overhaul. As a result, we'd like to keep the existing cabinets as they are but update the color. We would like to either have them restained or painted. Does anyone have a recommendation of someone who can do this job well and at a reasonable price? Older posts on BPN focus on refacing, but we do not want to replace anything, assuming that would be more pricey? Thank you so much! anon


Repainting cabinets, doors and drawer fronts is a very good way to freshen up a kitchen. The secret is in today's primers. They are so good that the old nemesis of chipping & peeling paint is history. After a lot of experience repainting cabinets I definitely recommend spraying the doors and drawers, preferably outside to avoid over spray, fumes, etc. I have painted everything from 60 year old doors with multiple paint layers to cheap 80's condo cabinets, all with remarkable success.If you are reasonably DIY adept you can rent a sprayer from a paint store for a weekend or borrow one from someone like me. Sometimes I work alongside the homeowner to save some money. Jim
Hi, We just had this done this summer and we also added trim to the existing flat-front cabinet doors. I could not be happier with our painter, Ulises. He was incredibly attentive to detail and did an amazing job. After sanding, patching and priming, each coat of paint was sprayed on and lightly sanded. It looks like we have new cabinets. The contact information is Ulises Vasquez, USV Painting (408) 489-4433. Contrary to the cell number, he's actually located in Berkeley. Good luck! Allison
Hi, I recommend Athens Painting Co. (510) 637-8973 if you are looking for beautiful results. I love the way my kitchen cabinets look now! They were very professional and neat. I get a lot of compliments and I am very happy I went with them. Sophie
I can recommend Antonio Chavarria at De Colores Painting (Cell: 510-390- 2307). A couple of years ago my wife and I were planning a kitchen facelift, but didnt want to remove the original 1940's cabinets which were still good. There's a lot of them and I knew it wasn't going to be easy to clean/sand/patch/prep the kitchen. After talking with Antonio I knew he was the best I had spoken to in the hunt for a skilled but reasonably priced painting company. They set up a full spray booth in the garage and after lots of prepping sprayed a nice new surface on all the draws and doors. They also painted the built-in parts,walls and ceilling which still look great. After the first coat was up, we CHANGED OUR MINDS ABOUT THE COLOR! No problem for Antonio, I bought the new paint and he finished the job with all the extra work on budget. They had to put in more hours than estimated but he gladly held to the bid. Nice person to work with. He's the guy I call first for any future painting around here. Peter and Diane

Do-it-yourself cabinet installation?

Sept 2006

my husband and i are thinking of installing kitchen cabinets ourselves in an attempt to save money.We absolutely do not have a clue on how to go about this.We are starting to read up on it but thought it will help to talk to someone who has done this before. Any recommendations as to where to get the cabinets,a must have tool or is this something we should leave to the professionals.Any helpful tips will be much appreciated.thanx


We remodeled our kitchen in Oakland ourselves with no prior experience: this included tearing out the skanky old cabinets and installing new ones. We bought cabinets from Ikea and they come flat-packed in kits with everything you need. Most inexpensive cabinets like these come in certain sizes: 24'' deep for lower cabs, 12'' deep for upper cabs, and then each cabinet comes in widths of 15'', 18'', 21'', 24'', 30'' or 36''. The key is to see what widths are offered, in single-door or double- door styles, and plan out what combination of sizes will add up to the space you have available.

Basically you screw a strip of steel channel along the wall, and then each cabinet hangs from this channel by two fasteners, which can slide along the channel as need be. The doors are hung afterward. They also provide adjustable feet for the lower cabinets, and lengths of baseboard that you clip onto the feet in the toe space.

The 36'' wide cabinet has caused the counter to sag a little bit; 1/2'' countertop plywood does not span very well over 36''. I would recommend sticking with the narrower cabinets or using thicker countertop material. If your sink can only fit into a 36'' case, then definitely increase the countertop thickness.

Also, we chose one of the least-expensive Ikea finishes, a white enamel-like finish over particleboard. This does not hold up well in a wet environment - some water leaked onto the doors and caused the particleboard to expand and crack the coating. Choose the wood over the particleboard.

If you spend some time with the Ikea catalog and talk to the kitchen planners there, you can figure out what needs to be done - go for it! tiff


Cabinet design businesses

April 2005

I wanted to let other parents know about Custom Spaces, a locally owned design and cabinetry firm that we have used twice to help us tastefully modernize our Craftsman kitchen and bathroom. They have a keen sense of how to maximize the use of a given space and were able to work within our budget. They have great design and color ideas too! Check them out www.customspaces.net satisfied customer


2002

Our contractor recommended that we get our cabinets from Bay Area Cabinets in San Leandro. It was a bit of a drive for us (we live in Albany), but the quality of the cabinets was high and they were a better deal than Home Depot. -Linda


Other store-bought cabinets

When we remodeled our kitchen we considered Ikea but they weren't cheaper and you have to put the cabinets together. We then decided to get our cabinets through Home Depot but the customer service was HORRIBLE. First you need to make an appointment which is hard to get, they don't seem to know too much about the different choices and after I made the order I wanted to change one thing the next day and then go pay my $3000 but no one would help us since we didn't have an appointment we would have to wait until next week. After that I ripped up the Home Depot order form went to Yard Birds and was helped on the spot, they were great, I love the cabinets, they were cheap and I like the fact that Yard Birds is not a huge chain. bell (April 2002)
We just remodeled our master bathroom and did extensive research on costs for product. We found that while Expo had very nice products, they were quite expensive. We found many of the same products (higher end faucets, etc ..) at Lowe's in Vacaville. It is quite a drive for most of us, but we went up there with a list and got almost all of it in one big trip. They deliver as well, for a fee, of course! Might be worth a try. The cabinets we put in our bathroom are actually from the kitchen dept., and they had quite a nice selection. Good luck! It is in the lot next to the old Nut Tree. Trish

Refacing/rehabbing cabinets

May 2007

We are looking for an inexpensive way to improve our kitchen and I'm told that cabinet refacing could be an option (e.g. new facing on the frame and completely new doors). I really like our kitchen's layout and countertops but I just hate the cabinet doors. I checked BPN already and there weren't any recommendations. I already had Sears come out which ended up being a huge debacle because the guy was a total jerk and quoted me 10K. I've seen ads for Kitchen/HomeWorks in the paper but was curious if anyone has used them for refacing? I've also found a few guys on Craig's List that seem more affordable but I'm just not sure what the range is. Has anyone out there had a good (read affordable) experience with refacing? Thanks in advance! Lisa


Hi Lisa, We recently replaced just our cabinet doors and are extremely happy with our decision to work with what we had instead of replacing. We bought the doors from Home Depot - you'll have to do the measuring if you don't reface the frames too (they'll send someone to measure if you do both). Ours were very tricky because the frames are not square at all, but our installer was FABULOUS! The frames had to be planed and the doors hung evenly in the openings to keep them from looking funky. With the wrong installation, it could have been a fiasco. I HIGHLY recommend Alan Burne 510-290-6181. Since then, we also used him on a tricky window trim job where he, once again, did a beautiful job. He is skilled, but also takes the time to do it right. Feel free to email me if you want more info. Nicol
June 2004

My husband and I are locked in a debate over whether to only replace the kitchen countertop (old, ugly white tile) or to replace BOTH the countertop AND the cabinets (dark wood, possibly from the '50s or later, that he painted white on the outside.) He would like to put in a nice, new, granite countertop and leave the cabinets alone. I think a very nice, new countertop would look funny on top of such old cabinets, and that we will regret not doing the cabinets after it's done. We've gone back and forth on this and seem to go in circles. We can afford the bigger change, but it's still a chunk of money, and we don't want to do it if it's not ''necessary.'' And we can't decide whether it's a good ''investment'' or an ''indulgence.'' We both enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen with our 1- and 3-yr-olds, so investing in our kitchen is on the brain. I'm just really afraid we're going to regret not doing the cabinets along with the countertops. Can anyone give us more ideas or another perspective on this issue? Indecisive


RE: Update cabinets, counter, or both?
If the cabinets are in good condition and you like the size, number and layout you have, and your problems with them are aesthetic only, then don't replace the cabinets. Consider repainting/refinishing or even re-facing (new frame, doors and drawer fronts installed on top of the existing 'boxes') instead, which will give you a nicer look at a much lower price. You might even consider something like cutting panels out of some or all of the upper cabinets only and putting in plexiglass or decorative screens, instead of a complete refacing.

If, however, the interior of the cabinets are in poor shape (splintered wood, warped drawers that stick, six million layers of old Contact paper on the shelves, whatever) or if you are frustrated with the size or layout of the cabinet space, then it's worth tearing them all out and replacing them with a new layout that will make the time you spend in your kitchen more pleasant. Wishing *I* could afford a re-do!


You need to check the pricing of refacing the cabinets vs buying new cabinets. If you need to reface the whole kitchen then more often than not it's cheaper to buy new cabinets altogether since the custom labor is the expensive part. We redid our kitchen recently and we decided to go with new cabinets(beautiful maple all wood) that proved to be a cheaper option than the refacing!!! Plus you get exactly what you want. We bought them from Diablo Valley Cabinetry in San Ramon. Best prices and excellent service from Dee. Simona
Feb. 2002

My husband and I are hoping to brighten up our dated kitchen and had Sears in to give us an estimate on cabinet refacing. We were shocked at how much it would cost- $12K for our moderately sized kitchen. The price was around $300/linear foot. Since we don't plan to stay in our home forever, we don't want to sink a lot of money into this project. I have looked at the UCB Parents Network recommendations for kitchen remodeling but didn't see anything on this specific topic and am hoping someone might have some info for us. Is that price the going rate? Has anyone used Sears and been happy (or not) with it? Or are there other recommendations folks might give us? We'd appreciate any feedback! Thanks. Liz


Depending on the condition of your cabinets, you might consider Kitchen Tune-Up. It isn't really refacing, but more like a deep cleaning, which was all my 10-year-old cabinets needed. He cleans, scrubs (with steel wool and a razor!), varnishes and oils the wood in one day for $500. It won't change the color of your cabinets, or repair badly damaged wood, but it does take care of all surface scratches, nicks, and worn-off finish. He will come out and do a free demo and let you know if it will help your cabinets. Jaime
I had Luke Bowman do my kitchen cabinets and spent far less than 12K (around 4K, I think). However, I had to have them painted in oil, which cost more than actually having the cabinet fronts made. Luke can give you good ideas for saving money. We saved some drawers and he built some new ones. We used all of our old boxes and put on all new fronts. He also built some new units for me. He uses solid maple. And best of all, he's a really nice guy! His shop is in Marin Co. but he lives in Berkeley. Maria
I'm a general contractor (and a professional cost estimator) and I'd say that's WAY too much money to pay for refacing. You can get nice new prefinished birch cabinets for less than that. Depending on whether you replace the existing cabinets with new ones in exactly the same configuration, there may other costs involved such as plumbing, electrical, and flooring. And you'd need to put in new counters as well. I'd recommend talking to City Cabinets (in the phone book). They do custom sized, moderately priced, cabinets in a variety of styles. They'd also price just replacing the doors, if you wanted them to. I'm not sure if they'd come out to measure for an estimate; you might have to send them a list of the door sizes you need to get pricing. (Their cabinets, by the way, are MUCH MUCH MUCH higher quality than Home Depot cabinets, and by the time you add in all the filler strips, and additional labor it takes to install the stock sized Home Depot cabinets, City Cabinets usually ends up LESS expensive.) Alysson Baker

April 2004

We are embarking on a kitchen remodel, and looking for additional information that is not posted to the web site. Where did you buy your kitchen cabinets? (semi- custom, I think they're referred to) ''They say'' that you can get a better deal on similar cabinets than Home Depot, but where exactly? There are a couple of places in San Leandro / Hayward that have been mentioned by others, but we'd love to talk to recent remodelers who have actually used a place before diving in. Under consideration: Expo (possibly too expensive), Home Depot (mixed review?), Airport Appliance (the kitchen designers may not be tops?), and PC Cabinets (didn't hear one way or the other). Has anyone used these, or de-selected them for particular reasons? Where is ''the'' place in the East Bay to purchase good quality (not extremely ''high end'' but not ''el-chapo'') kitchen cabinets? Comments, suggestions, etc. are welcome. Seeking kitchen cabinet source


You didn't mention IKEA. As someone who used cabinets in her kitchen that weren't from Ikea, and then proceeded to work with the Kitchen dept. at IKEA, I can wholeheartedly say that the quality of material used is the same of that sold at Home Depot or Expo. The difference, of course, is it is unassembled and that can be a hassle for someone doing a full kitchen remodel, though Ikea does have assemblers they can recommend (I also have one, and their familiarity with the product would enable them to install in a day)IKEA's downfall is only that they don't have a lot of traditional styles to choose from--mostly what they call Scandinavian Mondern...but it's certainly worth a look. They also have some logistical issues but you cannot beat the prices....let me know if you have any questions.
For cabinets, I recommend working with Rick Kalem at Rex Cabinets. He makes all his own, beautiful, custom cabinets in his shop which is right next to his showroom. Since we didn't have an architect or designer, we worked with Rick on every detail of our kitchen design. We appreciated his ideas and flexiblity when he helped us design a kitchen (with a desk area, mudroom, and bar area) which uniqely fit the way we live. He is great to work with and his leadtimes and estimate were reasonable. After seeing our kitchen, our neighbor started working with him and is sending her friend there as well. Feel free to contact me for follow-up. Jennifer

Formaldehyde off-gassing in kitchen cabinets

May 2003

We are planning to do a major remodel of our kitchen in the coming year. I am concerned about the formaldehyde level (and off-gassing)in most comercial kitchen cabinets. Has anyone already done the research about specific levels of off-gassing in current brands? Have you found and installed any low- or no-formaldehyde cabinets? How do prices, function and durability compare to the standard ones? Thanks for helping keep our home healthy! R.K.


My name is William Walker of Silver Walker Studios, I am a Certified Green Building Professional, licensed contractor, designer & cabinet maker. I am responding to formaldehyde off-gassing issue in cabinetry. Formaldehyde off-gassing is a huge indoor air quality issue, and it can be minimized substantially. If you have children you should be especially concerned as formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen and has been linked to learning disorders in children. The biggest formaldehyde offender is particleboard and paints & finishes. In order to reduce emissions in the home specify a formaldehyde free MDF or plywood as well as low VOC. paints & finishes, they do exist! There are other techniques as well, such as sealing all suspected formaldehyde products with 2 coats of low or no VOC paint or sealer. Go to www.stopwaste.org/fsbuild.html which is the Alameda County Waste Management Authority for a wealth of information on Green building techniques and materials. You can also call or email me for more information, I design & manufacture Green cabinetry and would be happy to consult with you free of charge.
William Walker
Silver Walker Studios
510.215.1266
bill AT silverwalker.com
Liza AT silverwalker.com

The worst for outbgassing formaldehyde is particle board. Everyone should stay away from that. You might try getting used cabinets at someplace like Omega or Urban Ore. Or try this website: http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/home/13. Many new materials used in remodeling can offgass: paint, vinyl floor, carpet, fabric. There are less toxic solutions if you look for them. a remodeler
I have been doing some research b/c we are remodeling our kitchen. Neil Kelly Cabinets out of Portland and Crystal Cabinets have ''green'' options. You can find them both on line. fullhuis

Recycling cabinets

2002

Don't throw out your cabinets! If you can't find someone who wants them then sell or donate them to Urban Ore (one on Asby and the other on Gilman.) They will sell them to someone else and the landfill will stay a little emptier.


DeWils Kitchen Cabinetry

Nov 2007

We are considering maple DeWils Cabinets for our kitchen -- has anyone had any experiences, positive or negative, with this line of cabinets? We're looking at both the frameless and the face frame styles.


We just installed cherry cabinets made by DeWils about 6 months ago. They're beautiful, work well, and our contractor frequently works with them. I'd recommend them! Myla
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